The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has released its report on racist attacks in the first 6 months of 2012. They point out that “Given that these incidents were recorded in the local or (much less frequently) national press, they show only a tiny fraction of the true scale of violence.” However, three incidents from the East Midlands get a mention.
Under the heading of “Attacks, graffiti and threats by supporters of far right groups” the racist attack by Daventry EDL member, Charles Dickie, is noted.
2 March 2012: An EDL supporter told an Asian taxi-driver that he was ‘not welcome here’, pointing to EDL slogans on his T-shirt and launching a tirade of abuse. When he was arrested he sang EDL songs and police later found anti-Muslim posts on his Facebook page.
Dickie, who later denied he was racist, pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and to smashing a police phone while in custody. He told police he “would be at the top one day” and warned “there better be lots of them as there will be 5,000 of me”. Police made a formal objection to a bail application after Dickie continued to make veiled threats during his time in custody over the weekend.
Dickie was found guilty of threatening the driver because of his religion in absentia after he refused to get into a prison van taking him to the trial. The magistrate heard he had made threats towards a planned mosque in Daventry to police. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison plus four weeks for failure to surrender to bail after an assault in Blackpool the previous year.
Also mentioned in the IRR report are an attack on Muslim taxi driver, Harun Shah Zaman, in Leicester and a racist attack on a Pakistani man in Northampton.
19 May 2012: Harun Shah Zaman, a taxi driver in Leicester, was brutally beaten and robbed by four passengers. One of the passengers headbutted him and another punched him in the face before the other two (female) passengers joined in the assault. The group then stole his wallet, his cash bag, his keys and his sat nav (which they smashed on the floor) and ran off. Despite there being several witnesses to the attack, nobody intervened.
2 April 2012: An Asian man was savagely beaten in an unprovoked racist attack in Northampton by a white male who was walking a pitbull–type dog. The victim, with his wife at the time of the incident, crossed the road away from the attacker when he racially abused them; but the white male then followed the couple and headbutted and punched him to the floor.
There is a high prevalence of anti-Muslim threats and violence in the region, as well as in the country at large, something that is stoked by the far right’s rhetoric and demonisation of the Muslim community. The IRR mention 9 far right racist incidents, of which 4 involved the EDL and one involved the North West Infidels EDL splinter.
We need to tackle these fascists and make sure the attacks stop.